Nicholas Ridley, born 1500, dedicated his life to the church and eventually became Bishop of London in 1550. His questioning of the Pope’s supremacy over the Kingdom of England led to his imprisonment in the Tower of London and he was tried for heresy. In 1555 Queen Mary, or ‘Bloody Mary’ as she became known, got her way and Bishop Nick was burnt at the stake for his religious beliefs. He died a Martyr in Oxford on October 16.
Almost 300 years later in 1842 Thomas Dixon Ridley built his brewery on the banks of the River Chelmer. It was here that the Ridleys’ great tradition of brewing was born. The brewery thrived and Ridley’s beer was enjoyed at inns from Southend to Saffron Walden. Over the next 163 years six generations of Ridleys honed their skills and perfected their palettes to bring the people of Essex the best local brews, until the brewery was sold in 2005.
Today, Nelion Ridley takes up the mantle once more, and with his craft brewery ‘Bishop Nick’, is devoted to keeping Essex ales sacred.